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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE


April 22, 2014


Daniel Suarez


THE MODERATOR:  Thank you for joining us.  As you can tell this is a bilingual video teleconference.
I would like to introduce our guest today, Daniel Suárez.  Daniel is a current member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program and a NASCAR NEXT alumnus.  He runs full‑time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with Rev Racing and in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series with Telcel.
It was just announced this morning that Daniel will be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut with Joe Gibbs Racing on Friday, April 25th, in the Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
Daniel, in addition to your Nationwide Series debut, you will also be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event on Friday night, then heading to Monterrey, Mexico, to compete in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series at the Autodromo Monterrey.
You already have four wins across two NASCAR series and two countries.  Does that give you confidence running in Richmond?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Yeah, definitely.  I think it will be a good weekend for us.  I'm really excited.  It's probably one of the busiest weekends in the year for us, doing our debut in the Nationwide Series.  A couple minutes later we need to get ready for the K&N race.  After the race is over, we need to get ready to get in the airport and leave to Monterrey, Mexico, where is going to be the NASCAR Toyota Series race.
It's going to be a very good weekend for us.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm very excited.  I'm excited to be, you know, in strong teams in every single series.
The Nationwide Series is no exception:  one of the best teams.  It's like a dream so far in 2014.  In the K&N Series, I think we can be very competitive in 2014.  In the NASCAR Toyota Series, I think the team already have a lot of confidence, a lot of adaptation, and we have been pretty strong.  We have been winning races and finishing in the top three all the time.
I'm really happy for this weekend.  I think it's going to be a busy weekend, but I'm really looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR:  You just mentioned your scheduled to run three events in three NASCAR series across two countries.  What you didn't mention is the final race of the weekend is in your hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, where you're actually the defending race winner.  Does the fact that you'll finish the weekend in front of a home crowd kind of add more excitement for you heading into the races?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Definitely.  I think that's an important point because we won that race last year in Monterrey, Mexico.  Probably get that victory in front of your family, friends, all these people that have been watching me growing up since I was 11 years old, definitely means something big for me.
Close the weekend, the busy weekend, in Monterrey, Mexico, it's going to be good for us.  Hopefully I'm crossing fingers to try to get everything close for the practice and qualifying.  If everything is good, the weather and everything, I think we're going to be ready to race also on Sunday afternoon after the Nationwide and K&N race.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Daniel.  We'll now go to the media for questions.

Q.  How many Nationwide races do you anticipate you'll do this year with Gibbs?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  For now we just signed a Richmond race.  To be honest, we have been talking about since last year how to do something good.  I'm really happy to be in this position right now, to have everyone in Mexico, like Escuderia Telmex and Telcel Racing, helping me in my career.
Right now, Joe Gibbs Racing, it's an amazing project.  We were talking about to do something in the second half of 2014.  Month and a half ago this race came out.  For now it's just Richmond, but I'm really looking forward to do something good in the future.  For now I'm just focused to do well in this race.  I'm pretty sure that after that race we are going to have something good for the second half of the year.

Q.  Have you tested a Nationwide car?  If so, where?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Like I said, to be honest, this came out very late.  For me was a surprise to be in a Nationwide car in Richmond for Joe Gibbs Racing.  My personal opinion, the best team is in Nationwide, the strongest teams in the Cup level.
We didn't test.  We have been very busy doing races in Mexico and also in the K&N.  For us it was difficult to do everything with patience for this race.
But I think we are going to be pretty confident, ready to go racing.  I have been in communication with my crew chief, with everyone in the team.  So I'm really looking forward to this weekend.

Q.  Daniel, how much experience do you have behind the wheel of a Nationwide car at this point?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Well, so far nothing (laughter).  It's going to be a new experience for me.  The Nationwide car already is something different for me.  I never been in a Nationwide car.
But to be honest, I have a lot of confidence on myself and also in Joe Gibbs Racing to learn about everything.  The first point and the most important point is to try to learn about everything and then be competitive.  I think I can say that I love to be competitive in everything I drive, even video games.
For now so far we have been trying to practice the pit stops in the shop, trying to get the communication better with my crew chief and with everyone in the team.  I think in a couple days, Thursday afternoon, is going to be interesting, my first couple laps in the Nationwide car in Richmond.  So let's see.

Q.  It's my understanding you're going back to Charlotte from Richmond, not directly to Mexico.  Is that true?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Yeah, that's true.  Was more difficult leave from Richmond because in that way I supposed to get in Monterrey, Mexico, one hour and a half later.  In that position I can miss also the second practice.  That was kind of difficult.
So we decide to drive away exactly when the race of the K&N is over to Charlotte, take a flight at 6:00 a.m. to get into Monterrey, Mexico for practice and qualify for the NASCAR Toyota Series deal.

Q.  Daniel, have you given a thought to the fans, that as you move up, not only do you run into a little more difficulty in the series, but you actually have the ability to bring fans along with you if you do well that wouldn't normally be there?  Do you have a thought that you have a special duty to your fans that you bring along?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  That's cool.  That's a good question.
I feel lucky to be in this position right now, to have all the support from all the media in Mexico, from Escuderia Telmex, Telcel Racing.  I think that's cool, something different.
I feel lucky to be in this position and try to do something in the Nationwide Series right now.  We have been with a lot of support from NASCAR, Race For Diversity, to develop myself in this position right now.  Right now, just not the support from them, but also from Joe Gibbs Racing who have been give me the opportunity to drive a Nationwide car in that level.  So I think that's pretty cool.

Q.  As far as your expectations go, maybe a lot of young drivers moving up, they're going to encounter a lot more difficulty as they rise.  Have you given that a thought as you move up to the Nationwide Series?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Well, that's difficult.  My personal expectation can be good expectation.  You know, finish competitive, finish in the top 10, learn about everything.  I think this is the most important point.
But it's going to be difficult.  I think I need to take this step by step, learn about the first practice, try to get the communication better with my crew chief, get a fast adaptation with the car, with the tires, with the horsepower, with the racetrack.  After that I think I can start getting my expectation better.
But first I need to get all this adaptation together and try to be ready to go.

Q.  How many of the Toyota Mexico Series races are you planning on running this year?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Well, we don't know yet.  To be honest, right now, we are trying to do full season in the K&N Pro Series East and also the NASCAR Mexico Series.  As you know, we have been working hard to get these kind of opportunities in the national series.
Hopefully after we race, get something together good, if we can get our plans together, maybe we need to leave the Mexican series before the end of the year.
But we don't know yet.  For now the only thing we have signed is Mexico series, the K&N, and right now for this race.  But looking forward to doing something else.  Depends how many races we can get in the future.

Q.  The last time somebody won championships in two series at the same time was 1998.  If you do run both the Mexico Series and the K&N Pro Series East, have you considered how difficult that will be with all the travel, the two different cars, the challenges that presents?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Definitely will be difficult.  Is no easy challenge for me, this weekend.  But like I said before, I really feel lucky to be in this position.  Not many drivers have the opportunity to do one race or two races or three races like me this weekend, in the same weekend.  That's kind of cool for me.
I think we can learn a lot about this situation.  It's not just that.  Having the opportunity to race with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, the K&N, and also (indiscernible) in Mexico, all these three teams, they are pretty strong in each series.
I think that's a pretty cool opportunity.  I'm really looking forward to do something good this weekend.

Q.  How do you mentally give each team the attention that it deserves when you're always on the road?  You have Nationwide, Mexico and the K&N Pro Series.  How do you try to give them equal attention?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Well, I'm used to try to split my time with the K&N team, with the Mexican team.  Right now it's not just that, it's also working a lot with Joe Gibbs Racing to try to get the communication better.
As you know, was impossible for us have a test or something before the race.  So all this time I have been spending a lot of time in the shop trying to learn as far as possible about the racecar, the language I'm going to use with my crew chief.  You need a language to set up the car and everything.
Right now I have been trying to split my time in three different teams.  I think so far we are pretty good, so I'm really looking forward to do something good this weekend.
THE MODERATOR:  I know in the past you have said that the communication with your crew chiefs is one of the most important things for your success in the K&N Pro Series and in Mexico.  You noted last year after your communication with your crew chief improved, you had the excellent second half of the year in the K&N Pro Series East.  How do you approach working with a new crew chief for this weekend for the Nationwide Series event?
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Well, Kevin Kidd is a personal crew chief, that he have a lot of experience in the Nationwide Series, and not just in the Nationwide Series, but racing in general.  I think he's going to help me a lot.
Definitely, like I said last year, I think the communication with my crew chief help me a lot to get better the second half of 2013.  But, you know, it's kind of difficult because we have been working a lot with the communication with the K&N team, and the Mexico team, but right now the Nationwide Series is something different.  Definitely communication is a very, very important point.  But I think right now like they know exactly what to do.
I think my crew chief and my whole team, they are going to try to help me a lot to be as fast as possible, as the same level as them, to try to be competitive and be in a good position for the race.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Daniel.  That's all the time we have today.  Good luck this weekend at Richmond and in Monterrey.
DANIEL SUÁREZ:  Thank you very much.  Hopefully we'll see you soon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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